Mégane Renaultsport 250 -- Click above for high-res image gallery

We're not really fans of yellow cars, but every once in a while we come upon a butter-colored coupe and think, "Oh, that's not bad..." The Mégane Renaultsport 250 is just one of those cars, and makes us say again – in case we haven't said it enough – why can't we Americans have one of these?

The next evolution in the Mégane Renaultsport line, the 250 has been relentlessly fettled to provide a driver with more thrills. It comes in two versions: a race-ified Cup model, and regular. The former gets just about all the mod-cons as well as the Cup Suspension Pack with a limited slip differential, stiffer springs, dampers and anti-roll bar, grooved discs, red Brembo calipers, and Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires on 18-inch wheels.

If you must have everything, don't check the "Cup" box and you'll get heated leather seats, electrically adjustable driver's seat, Renault Hands Free card, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers, and 18-inch wheels on Dunlop Sport Maxx TT tires, among other things. Best of all, you can get the Cup suspension with this model if you so choose.

Both cars get 250 hp and 250 lb-ft. The Cup runs £21,995 ($35,968 U.S.) on-the-road, the non-Cup goes for £22,995 ($37,604 U.S.). The Zola-length press release after the jump will tell you everything you want to know, or you can just check it out in the gallery of high-res photos below.


Related GalleryMégane Renaultsport 250

[Source: Renault]


PRESS RELEASE

THURSDAY 15th OCTOBER 2009

RENAULT ANNOUNCES SPECIFICATION FOR MEGANE RENAULTSPORT 250

* New Mégane Renaultsport 250 priced from just £21,995 on the road
* Available in two versions: Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup and Mégane Renaultsport 250
* Two chassis settings including the availability from launch of the Cup setting with a limited slip differential
* Unique features in the segment: Renaultsport Monitor and Renaultsport Dynamic Management
* Extensively revised Renaultsport 2.0-litre turbocharged engine now developing 250hp and maximum torque of 340Nm
* Extensive personalisation choices with interior and exterior colour options available through the Renault i.d. programme
* Ordering opens 1st November with first deliveries from January

Renaultsport has a rich heritage in high-performance cars and the latest, the Mégane Renaultsport 250, has been eagerly awaited since its unveiling in March in Geneva.

Continuing the range line-up of its Renaultsport brothers, Twingo and Clio, the new Mégane Renaultsport 250 is available in two versions: the Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup at £21,995 on the road and the Mégane Renaultsport 250 at £22,995. The former includes the specific Cup chassis whilst the latter adds more equipment and the standard sport chassis setting.

Despite its performance intent, the Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup is equipped with a generous specification including cruise control, speed limiter, eight airbags, RAID automatic door locking, Brembo brakes, Renaultsport Dynamic Management ESP system, Renault keycard, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, 60W RDS MP3-compatible CD player with fingertip control, Bluetooth and RCA connection, ISOFIX child seat mountings, rear parking sensors and, of course, the Cup suspension pack.

The Cup Suspension Pack includes a limited slip differential, stiffer springs, dampers and anti-roll bar, grooved discs, red finish to the Brembo brake calipers, 235/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres and 'AX-L' 18" x 8.25" alloy wheels in satin black.

The Mégane Renaultsport 250 is particularly well-equipped adding leather upholstery, heated front seats, electrically adjustable driver's seat with memory function, Renault Hands Free card, dual-zone climate control, automatic operation of the lights and wipers, 18" (x 8.25") 'Keza' alloy wheels with 225/40 Dunlop Sport Maxx TT tyres, extra tinted tailgate and rear side windows, tyre pressure monitor and Multi-functional TunePoint. The Cup Suspension Pack is available as an option combined with Recaro front seats at £1,950.

Customers can choose to personalise their car with a broad range of options including the Renaultsport Monitor telemetry system, LED daytime running lights, bi-xenon headlamps, Recaro seats, 19" Speedline alloy wheels with the latest generation 235/35 Continental Sport Contact 5 tyres, Carminat TomTom, Arkamys 4x30 RDS radio with 6 CD and Bluetooth and Multi-Functional TunePoint, electric folding door mirrors, front parking sensors and a fixed glass roof. As part of the Renault i.d. programme, customers can choose one of two interior colours or anthracite finish to the exterior detailing.

The Mégane Renaultsport is available in seven colours: Glacier White, Capsicum Red, Extreme Blue, Pearl Black, Mercury, Oyster and, unique to the model, Sport Yellow. As standard, the centre section of the front bumper and F1-style blade, door mirrors and rear diffuser are finished in gloss black. Customers can choose to have these elements in anthracite as part of the Renault i.d. programme.

Both versions of the Mégane Renaultsport 250 are in group 17E for the ABI rating.

The Mégane Renaultsport 250 range is available to order from 1st November with first deliveries arriving in the UK in January.

Renault recognises that its Renaultsport customers make up some of its most devoted and loyal fan base. Renaultsport organises regular trackdays in the UK and abroad through www.renaultsport.co.uk, the website for Renault performance fans to get the latest information and share discussions in the community forums. Customers can find more information through this website or by visiting their nearest Renault dealer.


PRESS RELEASE

NEW MEGANE RENAULTSPORT 250 ARRIVES

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is the latest addition to Renault's sporting line-up, with stand-out performance and styling that live up to the newcomer's pedigree.

In response to customer demand, New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is available from launch with a choice of two chassis:

* the standard Sport chassis, for everyday driving thrills
* the Cup chassis, for even more exhilarating track-focused performance

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Peak power is 250hp, while maximum torque is 340Nm which is available across a particularly broad rev-band to deliver a standard of performance that can be enjoyed equally on the road and on track.

Renaultsport's latest offspring boasts a raft of specific equipment designed to heighten driving enjoyment, including Renaultsport Dynamic Management (which permits three ESP modes) and Renaultsport Monitor (onboard telemetry).

Manufactured at Renault's Palencia plant in Spain, New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is built on the same production lines as those of the Hatchback, Coupé and Sport Tourer versions of New Mégane.

Dialled-in performance

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is the latest in a series of emblematic models that have helped forge Renaultsport's reputation, from the Dauphine Gordini to Mégane R26.R.

Assertive, sporty looks

Racy exterior and interior styling of New Mégane Renaultsport 250 takes inspiration from the world of motor sport.

Technologies that make a real contribution to travelling comfort and performance

Two technologies developed for even greater driving enjoyment: Renaultsport Dynamic Management (three ESP modes) and Renaultsport Monitor (onboard telemetry).

Driving pleasure in all situations

A choice of two chassis: the standard Sport chassis and the Cup chassis that features a limited slip differential.

The 2.0 Turbo Renaultsport engine: 250hp and maximum torque of 340Nm.

Powerful brakes with four-pot Brembo front calipers.

Safe, sports performance

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 benefits from Renault's massive expertise in active and passive safety.

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 features in the latest version of Electronic Art's Need for Speed: 'Need for Speed Shift' video game

The current economic situation and manufacturing strategy

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 profits from the expertise acquired by Renault's Palencia plant in Spain with the New Mégane programme.


DIALLED-IN PERFORMANCE

Renault has been a major player on the international motor sport scene for many years. The R8 Gordini, the 5 GT Turbo, Clio Williams and, more recently, Clio Renaultsport, Mégane F1 Team R26 and Mégane R26.R have all stood out as emblematic ambassadors for the brand on race tracks and rally stages around the world. The current range of production Renaultsport models benefits extensively from Renault Sport Technologies' long experience of competition and from the Renault group's manufacturing expertise.

With more than 21,000 units sold in some 30 countries since its 2004 launch, Mégane Renaultsport has been a resounding success. In addition to topping its class in France, Mégane Renaultsport is one of the most competitive hot hatches around thanks to refinements that have been introduced over the years, including the availability of the even more efficient Cup chassis, as well as the release of the radically-lightened R26.R version. Both Mégane F1 Team R26 and Mégane R26.R are acclaimed for their high-performance engines and chassis efficiency. Meanwhile, Mégane R26.R – which holds the lap record for its class around Germany's 21km Nürburgring Nordschliefe circuit – was named 'Real World Car of the Year 2008' by the British magazine Evo and stands out as the benchmark hot hatch of its class.

Renault Sport Technologies is a subsidiary of the Renault group. Its overall mission includes three principal areas of activity:

1. the design, development, manufacture and sale of production performance models (Twingo Renaultsport 133, Clio Renaultsport 200 and Mégane Renaultsport 250)
2. the production and sale of competition cars for rallying and circuit racing use (Renault Formula 2.0, Renault Formula 3.5, Clio Cup, Clio Renaultsport R3, Mégane Trophy)
3. the organisation of international single-make championships (World Series by Renault, Clio R3 Trophies) and Renaultsport Experience activities (trackdays and factory visits).

THE STUNNING LOOKS OF A THOROUGHBRED HOT HATCH

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 features the same styling cues as New Mégane Coupé, but it also exudes a more overtly sporty feel due to several elements that take their inspiration from Formula 1. The dynamic, sweeping lines of the Coupé version combine with a number of details which recall the world of motor sport to give it an even more assertive character, pointing to the promise of exhilarating on-road performance:

- the wheelarches are extended to accommodate the impressive 18- or 19-inch wheels,
- the front bumper incorporates a wide air intake and a Formula 1-type aerodynamic blade,
- the central exhaust tailpipe, diffuser and additional rear lip spoiler reaffirm the car's sporting credentials and contribute to the car's aerodynamic performance,
- the front bumper-mounted LED daytime running lights highlight the car's piercing gaze.

New Mégane Renaultsport's stance is uncompromisingly sporty – an impression reinforced by its striking launch colour, Sport Yellow – while at the same time exuding robustness and stability.

Special attention has been paid to quality, too, as illustrated by the design and finish of the optional 19-inch Speedline wheels which suggest a blend of refinement, advanced technology and speed. The exterior mirror housings, the aerodynamic blade incorporated in the front bumper and the rear diffuser are all picked out in gloss black, further identifiers of New Mégane Renaultsport 250.

BEAUTY WITHIN

The cabin carries over the sporty exterior styling, and features a dark charcoal trim which contrasts with the Sport Yellow rev-counter background and steering wheel stitching. The Renault i.d. Yellow Interior Pack brings further touches of colour in the form of the seatbelts and two-tone grey and yellow upholstery, as well as the door-panel and gear lever knob stitching.

The driving position is unmistakably sporty, but perfectly comfortable. The front seats feature additional lateral support, while the driver's seat is fully adjustable (fore/aft adjustment = 240mm, height adjustment = 70mm), including adjustable lumbar support. The optional heated leather seats come with an electric settings-memory function on the driver's side. Those owners who enjoy putting their vehicle through its paces round a circuit will appreciate the optional cloth- or leather-upholstered Recaro seats. The low seating position is comfortable, and the driver benefits from efficient support, whether driving on the open road or on a circuit.

The steering wheel, too, is designed to be comfortable and sporty. Trimmed in full-grain leather, it is height- and reach-adjustable to find the ideal driving position. Its shape and integrated thumb rests ensure perfect grip, while the yellow centre-point marking is a particularly useful feature when taking a sequence of tight corners or when driving on low-grip surfaces.

The competition feel of the driving experience is rounded off by the aluminium-faced pedals. Quality materials have been employed throughout the cabin, with special care paid to assembly excellence and to the smaller details, with Renaultsport-badging visible on the grille, tailgate, sills, headrests, rev-counter face and dashboard trim.

COMFORT AND PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING EQUIPMENT

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 benefits from a raft of technological equipment, including:

- automatic dual-zone climate control with three modes (Soft/Auto/Fast),
- hands-free card with automatic door locking as the card-holder walks away from the vehicle,
- the 3D Sound by Arkamys audio system, with standard RCA connection or optional TunePoint connectivity (USB, jack).
- a choice of two navigation systems: Carminat Bluetooth DVD® or Carminat TomTom®.

The analogue instruments, and yellow rev counter, of New Mégane Renaultsport 250 are specific to this model and are another feature which provides a visible tie-in with the world of motor sport. In addition to the warning light which recommends the ideal moment to change gear, an audible warning also tells the driver when the rev-limiter is about to cut in.

A new feature on New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is the Renaultsport Dynamic Management system which allows the driver to choose the degree of electronic aid he or she wants in different situations:

- 'On': the default mode when the engine first started. The ESP, ASR traction control and emergency brake assist are all activated. The system intervenes as soon as it senses that the car is on the verge of sliding. The pedal mapping ensures smooth acceleration, making this mode ideally suited to everyday use.

- 'Sport' mode, for less intrusive ESP action. This mode is selected by a short press on the ESP button. Although the ESP and ASR are still active, they intervene at a later point and allow the car to slide to a certain extent, so long as the skid doesn't exceed a given threshold. The pedal mapping is modified to permit swifter engine response and provide extra torque at low revs.
- 'Off' mode, for unfettered enjoyment, notably round a circuit. This mode is activated by a longer push on the ESP button. The electronic stability programme is fully disconnected, while the pedal mapping ensures instant response from the engine and delivers all available torque and over-torque at low revs.

When the latter two modes are selected, 'ESP Sport' or 'ESP Off' are visible on the dashboard display.

COMPETITION-STYLE DATA-FEEDBACK

Another unique new feature for New Mégane Renaultsport's class is the Renaultsport Monitor, an advanced tool which provides the driver with real-time data. The system takes its inspiration directly from technology employed in motor sport and, until now, seen only on a small number of prestige road cars.

The Renaultsport Monitor collects data through a series of sensors and drivers can scroll through the system's different functions using the steering wheel remote controls. Information shown on the main dashboard display covers:

* data concerning the main engine functions (turbo pressure, oil temperature) and brakes,
* real-time engine performance data (torque, power),
* transverse and longitudinal g-force,
* lap timer, with memory function,
* performance data, with automatic memorisation of best acceleration times

The Renaultsport Monitor also enables the driver to modify the throttle pedal mapping. With the 'Sport' mode selected there is a choice of five settings (linear, normal, snow, sport and extreme) to adapt the car's acceleration characteristics to the conditions or to the driver's demands.

EFFICIENT PERFORMANCE AND DRIVING ENJOYMENT IN ALL SITUATIONS

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 benefits from the extensive work that went into the chassis of Mégane R26.R, including 'PerfoHub' independent steering axis front suspension coupled with a programmed-deflection rear torsion beam.

In response to customer demand, New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is available with a choice of two chassis:

- the standard Sport chassis, which delivers the ideal balance between sports performance and everyday driving comfort,
- the Cup chassis which, combined a limited slip differential, delivers outstanding traction, particularly appealing to owners looking to enjoy themselves round a circuit.

Renaultsport PerfoHub - independent steering axis front suspension - was first seen on a Renault production car in 2004 with the launch of Mégane Renaultsport. This arrangement ensures stable front suspension geometry under hard acceleration or when applying a significant amount of steering lock, cutting torque-steer.

Compared with the first-generation layout, New Mégane Renaultsport's front suspension has benefited from significant work into reducing unsprung weight. The pivot, pivot carrier, and lower arm which links the wheel assembly to the engine subframe are made from aluminium, while ball joints are now employed between the pivot and pivot carrier to reduce the forces to which the steering axis is subjected.

For optimal directional precision, the front suspension is attached to a so-called 'horned' subframe, a layout which ensures a level of transverse rigidity which is three times superior to that of Mégane II Renaultsport's front suspension.

Meanwhile, the damper housing and shaft diameters have been uprated on Mégane Renaultsport 250 compared with Mégane Coupé. This has doubled the stiffness of the strut and optimizes front wheel geometry under load.

The programmed-deflection rear torsion beam uses a new closed-profile beam to ensure lighter weight and the same level of rigidity.

Renaultsport PerfoHub: the independent steering axis front suspension

Renault Sport Technologies' innovative independent steering axis front suspension was first introduced in 2004 and is engineered to overcome the drawbacks commonly associated with powerful front-wheel-drive cars subjected to high forces, such as self-steering input through tight corners and poor straight-line stability induced by torque steer.

The steering axis of New Mégane Renaultsport's front suspension has been completely separated from the damper, unlike on a MacPherson-type arrangement where the steering axis is attached to the ball-joint of the lower arm and the upper damper mounting. The axis around which the wheel rotates is defined by the pivoting link between the hub carrier and pivot carrier. This has reduced the hub level offset (i.e. the distance between the centre of the wheel and the intersection of its rotation and steering axes) to 40mm, compared with 56mm in the case of the MacPherson-type layout used on New Mégane Coupé.

The front suspension geometry is consequently less sensitive to forces and torque applied to the driven wheels around their steering axis under hard accelerating and under heavy braking. The pivot carrier is attached to the lower rectangular arm via an anti-rotation tie-rod.

The standard Sport chassis benefits from specific damper and spring ratings. The diameter of the front anti-roll bar is 23mm, while the stiffness of the springs is 19mm/100DaN at the front and 25mm/100DaN at the rear.

Compared with New Mégane Coupé TCe 180, New Mégane Renaultsport's anti-roll performance is improved by 12.5 per cent.

The Cup chassis with limited slip differential: uncompromising performance

The Cup chassis is aimed at enthusiasts who enjoy sporty driving and track day fans, since its specific settings truly come into their own when the car is pushed that little bit harder. Compared with the Sport chassis, anti-roll stiffness has been increased by 13 per cent thanks to a bigger-diameter anti-roll bar (24.2 mm). The dampers are specific, too, while spring stiffness has been uprated by 35 and 38 per cent at the front and rear respectively compared with the Sport chassis. Anti-roll stiffness at the rear has been increased by 7 per cent compared with the Sport chassis. The overall anti-roll stiffness of the Cup chassis marks an improvement of 15 per cent over the standard Sport chassis.

Equipped with a limited slip differential, Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup chassis delivers genuine competition-type performance. The LSD ensures optimum traction at all times; whatever the conditions, however much grip is available, whatever the diving style and whatever the type of corner. The combination of a limited slip differential and independent steering axis front suspension minimises the effects of torque steer and permits the driver to profit fully from the extra traction for a more reassuring drive.

The limited slip differential also ensures greater stability under braking. By kicking in immediately, it pushes back the threshold when the ASR traction control intervenes under hard acceleration or when the ESP cuts in when turning into corners, thereby freeing the car's full braking potential. Improved turn-in performance also means that the driver is able reaccelerate harder and sooner.

In short, in addition to improving the efficient transmission of power to the road, and enhancing performance, the limited slip differential delivers progressive, reassuring handling whatever the driving style.

Limited slip differential

The Cup chassis version of New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is available with a mechanical limited slip differential which comprises a knurled helical gear, and satellite and sun gears with parallel axes. The limited slip function is obtained by the system's mechanical efficiency. When wheelspin occurs, the differential's internal architecture generates friction on the surfaces of the sun gears. This results in a proportion of engine torque being transmitted to the wheel which benefits from the most grip.

The chief characteristic of this type of limited slip differential is the fact that the transfer rate is determined by the use of three friction rings (selected for their friction coefficient) which are located between the sun gears and differential casing. The transfer rate can be modified by using friction rings of different coefficients.

Since the faces of the rings which intervene under acceleration are different to those which intervene under braking, it is possible to achieve differentiated transfer rates.

In the case of New Mégane Renaultsport 250, the transfer rate is 35 per cent, while its TBR (Torque Bias Ratio: the nominal ratio between the torque of the wheel which benefits from the most grip and the wheel which benefits from the least grip) is 2.3:1.

New Mégane Renaultsport's limited slip differential is supplied by GKN Driveline.

Lateral cornering stability has been improved to obtain a remarkable specific angle of roll, namely 0.31°/m/s2 in the case of the Sport chassis and 0.28°/m/s2 for the Cup chassis (compared with an average of 0.38°/m/s2 for New Mégane Coupé, and 0.35°/m/s2 for Mégane II F1Team R26).

It is easy to spot when New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is equipped with the Cup chassis and limited slip differential thanks to its red brake callipers and grooved brake discs.

18- or 19-inch wheels and tyres

The following tyres are standard for New Mégane Renaultsport 250.:

- Sport chassis: the new Dunlop SP Sport Max TT (225/40 R18 Y),
- Cup chassis: Michelin Pilot Sport 2 (235/40 R18 Y)

A 19-inch option is available for both chassis, the new Continental Sport Contact 5 Performance (CSC5P) (235/35 R19 Y).

Exceptionally powerful brakes

High-performance cars call for high-performance braking systems. New Mégane Renaultsport 250 benefits from exceptional stopping power thanks to its four-pot Brembo callipers and 340mm diameter vented discs at the front, the biggest available in the hot hatch segment.

At the rear, New Mégane Renaultsport 250 is equipped with 290mm-diameter discs.

The discs are grooved in the case of the Cup chassis. Braking performance is further enhanced by an 11-inch servo.

Sport-style steering

New Mégane Renaultsport's electric power steering features the same changes introduced on New Mégane, although its calibration has been adapted to suit the new model's sportier calling. The system delivers more precise feedback, with a progressive increase in turning effort into corners and enhanced comfort through turns. Its steering ratio of 14.75:1 is closer than that of the former-generation version.

ENGINE PERFORMANCE

One of Mégane Renaultsport 250's major strengths is to be found underneath the bonnet in the form its new-generation, Euro5-compliant 2.0 16V turbocharged engine (F4Rt). This powerplant delivers peak power of 250hp (184kW) at 5,500rpm and maximum torque of 340Nm at 3,000rpm, for a specific power output of 125hp/litre.

This increase in power and torque over the Megane F1 Team R26 has been achieved through:

- evolution changes to the turbo for even enhanced response at low revs,
- continuously variable intake valve timing,
- revised fuel-injection mapping.

With 80 per cent of peak torque available from as low as 1,900rpm, acceleration is smooth and responsive thanks to the twin scroll turbocharger and continuously variable intake valve timing.

To guarantee both performance and reliability, more than 25 per cent of the engine's components are new compared with the 230hp version which powers Mégane F1 Team R26:

- new intake ports,
- reinforced reciprocal parts (pistons and conrods),
- new air/air and water/oil intercoolers,
- sodium-cooled exhaust valves,
- piston ring carriers

New Mégane Renaultsport's engine drives through a six-speed manual gearbox (PK4). Compared with the version of this gearbox mated to New Megane's TCe 180 engine, the ratios are taller with increased shift precision to give a sportier feel. This new transmission enables the engine's inherent performance to be exploited, with a 0-100kph (62mph) time of 6.1 seconds and the 1,000-metre standing start covered in 25.7 seconds.

New Mégane Renaultsport 250 returns excellent class-leading fuel economy for this level of power, with combined cycle fuel consumption of 33.6mpg, equivalent to CO2 emissions of 195g/km.

New Mégane Renaultsport is also equipped with a system designed to optimise standing start performance. Known as PowerStart, this system works when the car is stationary – with ESP selected – and allows the driver to profit fully from the engine's acceleration performance without grip being lost.

Work on the intake ports and exhaust has also given New Mégane Renaultsport 250 a unique exhaust note under hard acceleration.

Reliability, durability and endurance

To ensure lasting performance, Renault Sport Technologies' development team has put the New Mégane Renaultsport 250 through its paces in a wide variety of situations, from long-distance circuit runs to extreme cold and heat, covering more than 190,000 miles in testing.

Sporting performance in complete safety

Renault considers safety to be a priority and a domain in which the brand is known to excel. Renault uses the findings of LAB (Accident Analysis, Biomechanics and Human Behavior Laboratory of Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroën) to design vehicles which are both safe and adapted to real-world driving conditions.

New Mégane Renaultsport naturally benefits from Renault's expertise in this field.

A raft of equipment is available to help drivers anticipate or avoid risk:

- seatbelt warning lights for all five seats,
- tyre pressure monitoring system,
- bi-Xenon directional headlamps,
- automatic headlamp activation,
- automatic windscreen-wiper activation,
- cruise control,
- speed limiter,
- ESP with understeer control,
- EBA (emergency brake assist).

New Mégane Renaultsport's outstanding passive safety performance has been achieved thanks to the same systems which enabled New Mégane Hatchback to obtain the maximum five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating and the maximum possible score of 37 points from 37.

The programmed deformation of New Mégane Renaultsport's structure has been engineered to absorb impact energy to protect the cabin and its occupants. The materials employed – including high, very high and very, very high elastic limit steels – have been selected to absorb and dissipate as much kinetic energy as possible. Controlled deformation ensures occupants are subjected to lower deceleration forces and this, coupled with the third-generation Renault System for Restraint and Protection (SRP3), guarantees an extremely high level of protection.

New Mégane Renaultsport features in the latest release of Electronic Arts' Need for Speed video game series: 'Need for Speed Shift'

Following the successful inclusion of New Mégane Coupé in 'Need for Speed Undercover' released last November, Renault and Electronic Arts have continued their association with the appearance of New Mégane Renaultsport in 'Need for Speed Shift', the latest addition to the NFS series which went on sale in September.

Need for Speed's development team were won over by the looks and performance credentials of New Mégane Renaultsport and have featured it in the game's 70-car line-up that includes the most legendary models of the past three-and-a-half decades. Renault's experts and developers from Electronic Arts worked hand-in-hand for almost a year to make New Mégane Renaultsport role in the game as lifelike as possible.

Need for Speed Shift delivers driving sensations on a par with those felt behind the wheel of the cars themselves, and its unique gameplay features provide players with an unparalleled experience as they embark on a tour of the world's most legendary circuits.

Created 15 years ago, Need for Speed evolves year-on-year, enabling players to enjoy the thrills of motor racing with increasing realism. More than 100 million copies of Need for Speed have been sold, making it the biggest motor racing video game franchise ever thanks to its combination of prestigious cars and incomparable technical qualities and graphics. The game is developed and published by Electronic Arts, the world's leading video game publisher, whose products constantly strive to push out the envelope when it comes to innovation, player immersion and intensity.

THE ECONOMIC SITUATION AND PRODUCTION STRATEGY

Europe continues to enjoy a buoyant hot hatch market which increased threefold between 2001 and 2008 to grow from 10,700 to 32,800 units. The United Kingdom and Germany account for 60 per cent of total European sales.

The current year is expected to produce contrasting results, marked by a significant downturn during the first half of the year (down 40 per cent). However, there is a strong correlation between sales and the models available on the market, and volumes are likely to pick up in the course of the second half of 2009 as the majority of the competition's models are renewed (about 10 new models in total).

New Mégane Renaultsport is manufactured at the Palencia plant in Spain on the same lines as the New Mégane range. Specific investment was spent at the factory to permit the Renaultsport version to be built on the main production line. The bulk of this investment covered acquisition of the necessary assembly tools for body components such as the front and rear wings, bumpers, engine subframe, seats, specific wheels and exhaust.

All the operators at the Palencia plant received specific training. For example, their programme included the fitment of exterior accessories, assembly of the independent steering axis front suspension and installation of the Recaro seats.

New Mégane Renaultsport benefits from same enhanced quality that is a hallmark of the entire New Mégane range.

Renault and motor sport – a century of success

1899: victory for Louis Renault in the Paris-Ostend road race
1900: victory for Louis Renault in the Paris-Toulouse-Paris road race
1901: Renault monopolizes the top-three places in the Paris-Bordeaux road race
1906: victory in motor racing's first-ever Grand Prix (Grand Prix de l'ACF) at Le Mans
1935: Renault Nervasport wins Monte Carlo rally
1972: Formula Renault created
1977: Renault makes Formula 1 debut
1978: the A442b wins Le Mans 24 Hours
1982: the Marreau brothers win the Paris-Dakar rally in a Renault 20
1986: launch of the Renault Super5 GT Turbo
1989: launch of the Renault 19 16V
1993: rally debut of Renault Clio Maxi and launch of Renault Clio Williams
1995: launch of Renault Sport Spider and creation of the Renault Spider Trophy (circuit racing)
1996: rally debut of Renault Maxi Mégane
1999: creation of the Renault Clio V6 Trophy (circuit racing)
2000: launch of Clio II Renaultsport 172 and Clio V6 Renaultsport
2002: rally debut of Renault Clio Super 1600
2003: creation of Formula Renault V6 (circuit racing)
2004: launch of Mégane II Renaultsport 225
2005: creation of the Renault Mégane Trophy and Formula Renault 3.5 (circuit racing)
2005 and 2006: Renault wins the Formula 1 Constructors' world title
2006: launch of Clio III Renaultsport 197
2007: creation of the Renault Clio Cup (circuit racing) and launch of Renault Clio R3 / R3 Maxi (rallying)
2007: Mégane Renault Sport F1 Team R26 voted 'Sporting Car of the Year' by readers of the French magazine chappement
2008: launch of Twingo Renaultsport 133
2008: Mégane Renaultsport R26.R voted 'Sporting Car of the Year' by readers of the French magazine Echappement, and voted 'Real World Car of the Year' by the British magazine Evo. Mégane Renaultsport R26.R sets the fastest laptime for a production front-wheel car at the Nürburgring Nordschliefe circuit
2009: creation of the New Renault Mégane Trophy (circuit racing)
2009: launch of New Mégane Renaultsport 250